Lemony Eve\'s and Shevie\'s Series of Unfortunate Events
I've often said that everything happens for the highest good. I do believe that, but sometimes the highest good does not necessarily mean *our* highest good. At least, sometimes that connection cannot be seen. That’s when faith in the Universe kicks in. The Plan: Pack Friday evening, get up early Saturday, do the morning stuff, pack the last minute things, load the van, hit the road by 9 or 10, drive about 6 or 7 hours to northeast of LA, get a room and go to bed early, get up early, have the motel breakfast, hit the road and be at our destination in another 6 to 7 hours, say, around 5 or 6 Sunday evening. The movers were scheduled to arrive between 8 and 10 Monday morning to pack and load, Monday night in a motel, hit the road early Tuesday morning to race the movers back home in a 12 – 14 hour straight-shot trip to meet them for unloading Wednesday morning. We were hoping to complete the lease papers and get the keys Wednesday before the movers got there and figured DOT restrictions on commercial drivers would work in our favor. The Reality: Murphy's First Law. The good news – no traffic accidents. Life got in the way and did not get packed Friday evening. Saturday both Eve and I got some bug. We did not leave Saturday. Straight-shot drive Sunday and arrived about 10 PM. Got a room, got a bit of rest, but could not get going to meet the movers at 8. That was ok because about 7:45 that morning as we were eating breakfast Wayne (head mover guy & driver) called, said something about having to pick up supplies at the warehouse there in San Francisco (???? We had been told the truck was dedicated to our move), and they'd be a bit late, around 10 – 12. OK, that takes a bit of pressure off us. Around 10 Wayne calls again and says he's headed to the warehouse for supplies, that he'd had another drop off, and he'd be there between 12 and 1. At 12:30 he calls for directions from San Francisco (we were in the South Bay area). Eve tells him how to get there. (why should he need directions?) They arrive at 1:30. Now we haven't eaten since before 8 that morning and have things in town we need to do that we couldn't leave to do because we kept thinking they would be there soon. So we scurry off for food and errands. They finished up about 11:30 that evening. There was an extra full sized bed that I had not known about hidden behind a china cabinet (long story, don't ask). Concerned there may be an extra charge for it, I hauled it out myself to the dumpster because my experience in Scottsdale, AZ is that you do that and the city's bulk trash collectors come around and haul it off. The truck leaves and Wayne says they'll be on the road early Tuesday morning. The walk-through is scheduled for 8:30 that morning so it seems they will be getting a head start. That's okay, all will be well. We didn't get to bed that night until about 2:30 AM, so there was no way we could make the 8:30 walk through. We were just too wiped out. The next morning we called the apartment manager to reschedule the walk thru for later that day and she told us there would be a $260 charge to have the bed hauled off because it is in violation of city ordinance. I guess Scottsdale is unique. I called the city and they said there was a place I could take it that would charge $24 each for the mattress and box springs, and $15 for the frame. I called the place and they said the mattress and box springs would be $11 each and there was a dumpster to toss the frame in for free. Only trouble was, they closed at 5 and were about 20 minutes away (remember the 4:30 walk thru). We spent the entire day cleaning the apartment (total mess, long story, don't ask). Just before and during the walk-through, I (by myself) loaded the mattress, box spring, and frame onto the luggage rack on the top of the van and tied it down with 100 feet of sisal rope. When the excessively nit-picking walk through was over and the manager had pointed out ever tiny little bit of normal wear and tear in the apartment that had been occupied for over 3 years, we hopped in the van and headed for the bed-dumping place as fast as my now very top-heavy van could go. Eve misunderstood the instructions I'd been given, thought we were going the wrong way, had us turn around just shy of being there until reality dawned and we made a mad dash back. Got there just in time to watch the snooty little b***h who knew we were coming lock the gate as we drove up. Now what to do? With the bed on the roof we were looking at a 20 hour trip, at least, plus a greatly increased gas bill. Tried a Goodwill. Nope, they don't take mattresses or box springs. Sorry, dude. If you want the frame you gotta take it all. OK, you don't get squat. Bye. Learn English. (yeah, I'm deep in my head and ego by now) We headed home during evening rush hour, me thankful for the forced slowness on the freeway for the first time in my life. As we were creeping along we discussed just dumping the bed along the road. No matter how we tried to rationalize and convince ourselves that was our only option, we just could not actually come to the decision to do it. Littering is not good for the Earth and that would be some serious litter. Litter = bad karma. We were also out of water and I spied a Lucky supermarket sign in time to make the exit. Ah, ha! We can dump it behind the store. Happens all the time. Illegal, but at that point we were willing to make some karmic sacrifices. At least it wouldn't be roadside trash. Started to drive around back and out walked a security guard. Didn't actually notice us, but his presence was sufficient to redirect the van, lol. There was also a WalMart there. It was being remodeled as evidenced by the two very large dumpsters at one end of the parking lot. A very secluded end with little traffic or activity. And one parking space that was almost hidden. Thank you, Universe. Backed in, cut the ropes, waited for the suddenly-there many people to leave, pulled the whole bed off the back and flipped it over so it landed right side up ready to be slept on, hopped in the van, drove right past the WalMart employee headed our way collecting carts, watched him *not* look back at us as we drove away, and made our escape. All but about 3 feet of the rope remained with the bed so if someone wanted they could tie the pieces together and tie the bed to their car/truck/trailer for the ride home. Zoom home to Arizona. During the trip out and back my dash gauges had occasionally acted up, something that was totally new. Once the temp and gas dropped to empty while tach and speedometer were fine. Once the temp and gas were fine, the speedometer was pegged over 100 and the tach read 0. A couple of times everything quit. Then the ABS warning light came on which was odd since I don’t have that option installed. Then, at milepost 120, the Veranda Way exit, the engine died and we coasted to a stop on the off ramp. 1 in the afternoon, no air conditioning. I called a tow truck and gave Eve and her mom ice packs from the cooler. About 45 minutes later the tow truck came and hauled us to Pep Boys. A new store just opened in Goodyear which was only about 10 minutes away. Otherwise, an hour or so tow. The gas gauge was showing empty, but only about 1/2 hour before it had shown about 3/4 full so I figured the alternator had gone out and the battery had run down. The low battery voltage caused the computer controlled gauges to freak out. It cranked slow which gave credence to my theory. Also, there had been a grinding noise for over 3 years that nobody could ever tell me what the cause was. Now, I figured it was coming from the alternator. Pep Boys discovered otherwise. I had a bad battery – shorted cells (typical hot weather battery failure). Also, I was out of gas. Guess the 3/4 tank was the erroneous reading. Oh, and the grinding noise? The air conditioner compressor ($$$$). New battery, oil change (why not, while there?), and a tank of gas and we were back on our way around 4:30 PM. While we were waiting at Pep Boys, Wayne called and said DOT had shut him down for a mandatory rest period because his boss hadn't given him a log book (Wayne is a bit new to interstate moves). So, he wouldn't get in until the next morning. Said his boss wanted him to keep driving in spite of the DOT order and he really sounded like he was ready to quit. Also said his boss wanted him to make the delivery at 6 the next morning. Keep in mind that this is now Wednesday, the original delivery day, and I was supposed to be back to work Thursday. Now the delivery is pushed back to Thursday. I told him to tell his boss that the customer said there was no way that was going to happen and we settled on 7 – 7:30. We got home in just enough time to get the cashier's checks the apartment manager required for the move-in costs and to get to the manager's office to settle the lease and other paper work to get the keys before they closed at 6. Mom slept on an air mattress in our living room, I met the mover's the next morning (Wayne called just as I was getting out of the shower), and the deal was done by noon. Whew! forerica, I no longer recommend Avalon Movers. I now advise *against* choosing them. They have demonstrated a complete lack of concern for customer service and satisfaction from a management level. Wayne and the rest of the moving crew were exemplary, but their boss is a jerk (more details than I've written here).